Recipe: Panettone Muffins

Contributed by Jeanne Florini for Ciao St. Louis

Panettone Muffins – makes a dozen

These muffins mimic the flavor of Italy’s classic Christmas bread, panettone. They’re flavored with Fiori di Sicilia — “Flowers of Siciliy” — and take less time and effort to make at home.  Pair with a prosecco as a nice gift!

1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit (such as diced apricots, raisins, pineapple cubes, chopped dates, sweetened cranberries)
1/4 cup apple juice, orange juice, rum, or a mixture

Mix the dried fruit and liquid of your choice in a bowl. Cover the bowl, and let the fruit sit overnight. Or speed up the process by heating fruit and liquid in the microwave till very hot, then cooling to lukewarm/room temperature, about 1 hour.

1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, to taste (can use orange extract)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2 generous tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin.
2.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar until smooth.
3.  Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4.  Stir in the Fiori and vanilla.
5.  Mix together baking powder, salt, and flour. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
6.  Stir in the fruit, with any remaining liquid.
7.  Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups quite full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the coarse sugar.
8.  Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re a sunny gold color on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
9.  Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. Transfer them to a rack to cool.

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